The Turks and Caicos supports a large number of contractors, builders, and project managers, and these companies range from international construction management firms to sole proprietor general contractors.
Due to the tourism expansion that started in the 1980s, the island of Providenciales is home to the majority of contractors, building supply sources, and specialty equipment. In many cases, contractors based on Providenciales are willing to work on our other islands, albeit at greater expense due to equipment and supply transport costs.
The Turks and Caicos is a very small archipelago nation, and nearly all building materials are imported from either the United States or the Dominican Republic.
The Building and Approval Process
Several steps must be followed to initiate a project. Requirements and guidelines differ depending on the type and scope of the project.
Some of the larger construction firms also have architectural and engineering divisions, and are able to manage a project from the design phase to completion (a design-build firm).
Homes and Residences
For smaller and residential projects, the process is relatively simple. After suitable real estate is acquired, appropriate building approvals will have to be obtained by either the owner or project manager. A design and plans have to be developed. The architect does not have to be based in the Turks and Caicos, but plans have to be signed off by a locally licensed architect. There are some exceptions for single-story residential homes (whereby local draftsmen may be able to sign plans).
Planning permission must be applied for. If all aspects are in order, the process typically takes about 3 months, although it can take many months longer. Planning permission and a Building Permit must be granted before construction can start.
Before a home can be occupied and utilities be connected, the site must be inspected, and an Occupancy Certificate be obtained.
Commercial and Larger Projects
Larger projects must follow a more stringent process, yet negotiations may take place with the local government for tax, customs duty, and employment concessions.
Invest Turks and Caicos is the local government agency tasked with promoting and negotiating terms for such projects.
The more expansive projects, such as a major Grace Bay resort or a residential or commercial development, must go through environmental and social impact assessments.
A common approach to building in the Turks and Caicos is to work with a project manager to oversee construction. A good project manager will be able to streamline the design and approval process, select the right subcontractor for each element of the build, ensure quality standards, and manage budgets and costs.
For smaller projects and single-family residences, it may make sense to work with a single general contractor.
There are a large number of sole proprietor small construction firms in the Turks and Caicos, and it’s important to conduct appropriate research and due diligence before selecting a contractor. It’s advisable to look at previous projects, obtain local recommendations, and agree on a fee schedule before committing.
It of course depends on the experience, professional staff, and equipment resources of the builder, yet most house projects are completed in 6 months to a year.
Millwork and Cabinetry
On Providenciales, there are a few finish woodworkers to choose from. As is the case with any contractor, we advise viewing a millwright’s previous work before committing.
Very little high-quality hardwood lumber and cabinetry hardware is stocked in the Turks and Caicos, so it’s important to incorporate import and sourcing delays into the build schedule.
Pools and Landscaping
Providenciales offers a wide selection of landscapers and pool specialists, as well as nurseries that maintain stocks of palms, trees and plants for transplanting.
Depending on the size and design of the swimming pool, it may make sense to work with a specialist pool contractor with the design and build. Structural, filtration, and heating issues can be very expensive to correct after a pool is completed.
Marine and Coastal Engineering
Projects and features, including beach creation and enrichment, docks, and canals, that are built in or on the ocean must follow strict guidelines and oversight to prevent and mitigate damage to our marine environment.
Turbidity and suspended sediment monitoring is one such consideration, and must be measured before, during, and after construction.
The Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs and the Planning Department both must approve and monitor various aspects of the project.